THRISSUR: Artists and veteran performers who have been struggling in the past two years due to the non-payment of pension, artist salary and grants by the Union Cultural Ministry will be lining up in the temple town of Guruvayur on Monday with their representations to meet Union Cultural Minister Mahesh Sharma when he attends an event held as part of the revival of temple art form Asthapathiyattam after 150 years. Vice-president Venkaiah Naidu will inaugurate the re-launch of the art form at Poothanam Auditorium on Monday at 3.30 p.m.
In Kerala, there are nearly 4000 eminent artists and veteran performers who are in need of financial aid and who had been receiving the pension from the Union Cultural Ministry till the financial year 2015-16. Besides that, nearly 3,000 artist who performs classical, folk and theatre and other art forms are part of the artist salary scheme of the ministry. They are also finding it difficult to survive due to the non-payment of their salaries in 2016-17 and 2017-18 FY.
The same is the ordeal with nearly 700 production groups across the state as they have not been given production grants in this duration. “Well-known organizations like Margi, which conducts classical art forms, Sopanam, formed by the late Kavalam Narayana Panicker, for theatre, Folkland in Kasargod which performs indigenous and rare art forms, Gandhi Seva Sadan in Palakkad and Sandarshan in Alappuzha, associated with Kathakali are finding it difficult to sustain as their production grants have been withheld for the past two years,” Chairman of the Folkland Dr V Jayarajan told DC. He said that most of these artists and groups had been depending on the Union government for their shows and livelihood all these years.
“According to the correspondence we got from the Cultural Ministry, the delay in the implementation of the Public Finance Management System (PFMS) which makes payments directly to the accounts of the individuals instead of the organizations they are associated with is the reason for this inordinate delay. And it has now led to art forms in the state becoming dormant,” he added. “I have reached Guruvayur to meet the union minister over the issue as we fear that citing technicality, there is also a possibility of cancelling the pension dues as well,” Mr Jayarajan said....